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Should Baroness Thatcher be tried as a war criminal?


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In reply to an earlier post on 22 Dec 2009 20:53:08 GMT
P says:
P Higgins, well of course under the condition you describe, nobody will every be able to prove you wrong. In fact it would be difficult to prove you wrong anyway, on logical grounds. It can be proved that someone did have knowledge of a fact. You can show good reasons why they *might* have knowledge of a fact, but proving that someone did NOT know something is extremely difficult. This becomes doubly difficult when you invoke the "conspiracy" mindset where every piece of evidence either provides extra confirmation, or proves that the writer has been fooled by the conspiracy.

It sounds to me that your stance on the Thatcher government's behaviour before, during and after the Falklands war is one that has, by your own admission, little or nothing to do with the facts of the matter. Their active desire for a war has become a matter of faith for you, something which is a position divorced from reality. Are you really saying, "Thatcher was a Bad Person, therefore anything that she might have done which was bad, she did do."?

I would beg you to consider about any set of events, is your belief about what happened totally divorced from any consideration of what can be established from factual evidence? This is dangerous to you and to society at large - it leads to, "I don't care what anyone says, I think Saddam has large stockpiles of nuclear weapons, so we have to go to war."

I would only add that most of what I have said on this forum, I have gleaned by a judicious use of the internet. There you too can find all the facts, and all the speculation you want, but I can see virtually nothing that backs up your beliefs about the situation.

Please think about that.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Dec 2009 21:10:01 GMT
Skin Magnus says:
Mikhenderson is only partially right.

There was indeed a 200 mile exclusion zone around the Falklands. However, in the "small print" of the diplomatic communiques published by H.M. Govt, there was a clause which stated that the British Govt. reserved the right to change the rules of engagement at any time, without notice, and that any vessels deemed to be a danger to the British fleet could be open to attack without warning. These are standard clauses that are issued in any such conflict. Any competent government would take notice of these clauses.

All of the above has been revealed many times on many documentaries about the Falklands War. A number of senior Argentinian officers/commanders have been interviewed on the subject; there was one naval commander who said that he would have acted in the same way had he been in the shoes of Admiral Sandy Woodward (the commander of the British task force).

Finally, it was not a waste of life: it ended up ridding Argentina of its murderous military regime (an unintended consequence admittedly). It also made other nasty dictatorships realise that Britain was no pushover - it added to our stock when dealing with these unpleasant regimes. That can only help in the negotiating chamber when conducting foreign policy.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Dec 2009 22:17:32 GMT
P. Higgins says:
P V Sutton, you are correct. Everything you said is true. Thatcher was bad; I refuse to accept any facet of her or her government as anything but bad. But you see, I don't care how outrageous my assertions are. I don't mind being thought a conspiracy theorist because her whole government was a conspiracy against the working man in general and the unions in particular. I would prefer to see her tried as a traitor for her determination to destroy the working and social lives of millions but if the only way she can be brought to book is through some other mis-management of the country, I won't lose any sleep.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Dec 2009 22:25:18 GMT
TomC says:
I believe some police officers work on much the same principle. "If he didn't do this one, I know he did lots of others that we couldn't get him for, so how can we fit him up?"

Posted on 22 Dec 2009 22:38:12 GMT
Last edited by the author on 22 Dec 2009 22:44:18 GMT
P. Higgins says:
Yes, Tom C. Just like the Thatcher government (in all but name) who took away the centuries old right of the accused to remain silent without inference as to their guilt or innocence.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Dec 2009 06:29:52 GMT
P says:
So we have a war, then. You, P. Higgins, determined to destroy Thatcher because she was an enemy of the unions, and Thatcher determined to destroy the unions because they were enemies to the country. And neither of you caring about the truth, or about the casualties in your war.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Dec 2009 08:03:16 GMT
Charlie Zulu says:
mikhenderson appears to be an imbecile. we did (and do) defend belize. we did defend kenya (remember the mau mau insurrection) what a pratt. fiji remains part of the commonwealth. "galtieri was no angel"!!! is he off his head. 22,000 people "disappeared". the idea you leave british people in the hands of mass murdering scum like him is absurd. as for the belgrano, intelligence showed its direction was part of a manoevre to attack the fleet. even if it wasnt, it WAS in the exclusion zone and it was an enemy ship. how dare we mik, how dare we attack the enemy that has brutally invaded soveriegn territory. you hint that the belgrano was sailing away as part of the peru peace plan. i say hint, because there has never been a simgle peice of evidence to back that up. in fact, this is the first time i've even heard it stated, or rather partially stated. i cannot describe the level of disgust i feel for revisionist cretins like you. even your "of no strategic importance" comment amply illustrates the level of your intelligence.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Dec 2009 08:05:58 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 31 Dec 2009 11:24:01 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Dec 2009 18:55:39 GMT
P. Higgins says:
No, P V Sutton, not because she was an enemy of the unions but an enemy of the people, the unions being her first line of attack.
And if you would like the truth, the truth is her attack on the miners was planned from 1974 and she was importing foreign coal at a higher price then British miners could dig British coal out of British earth.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Dec 2009 15:07:17 GMT
<<Britain set a 200 mile exclusion zone around the Falklands. They said that any ship inside the exclusion zone would be targetted. The Belgrano was outside the zone, and actually sailing away. Why was it sailing away? >>

An exclusion zone is declared to tell 3d parties: 'Our forces will attempt to identify whether ships/planes within this zone are neutrals (your civilian flights, merchant shipping, etc) or our opponents. However, if tehy can't identify them and feel they may be a threat, they have authority to open fire with live weapons. So for your own people's sakes, DO NOT ENTER THIS AREA'.

Nothing to do with the Belgrano, which was a hostile ship (belonging to the service that had, er, INVADED A UK POSSESSION.. derrr...)

It was sailing away. Oh, how nice. So you'd say that Luftwaffe bombers flying home after Blitzing London, Coventry, and a dozen other cities shouldn't be fired upon?

The Belgrano's manoeuvres were tactical, and coordinated (to keep Britain's makeshift taskforce guessing?) with those of the carrier 25 de Mayo to the NW of the Falklands. After she was sunk, the carrier returned to port. Mission accomplished.

I dislike Thatcher intensely, but this attack was entirely justified.

What WASN'T justified was teh Belgrano's captain's sailing in a war zone with his watertight doors open, without any manoeuvring to confuse RN nuclear subs he knew were in the area. He must bear responsibility for such a large loss of life aboard his ship.

Posted on 26 Dec 2009 15:15:02 GMT
NB the cuts in defence expenditure which sent a 'green light' to Galtieri to invade - seling HMS Invincible to Australia, and, crucially, announcing the retirement of Antarctic patrol vessel HMS Endurance - were found in desperate measures to cut the defence budget as Thatcher was keen on replacing the RN's Polaris subs with new ones carying Trident. The cuts in the non-nuclear RN therefore contributed, but were clearly not deliberate.
I'd say that again, we need to drop strategic nuclear weapons and increase conventional defences, but that's definitely another discussion.

Posted on 26 Dec 2009 17:42:34 GMT
The whole point of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas war was to create and excuse to build a bridgehead to the oil fields in the South Atlantic. Just get your mate Murdoch to brainwash the mases and before you know it you got yourself a nice little earner. The oil should come on stream just as the North sea is running out. But be careful those little South Americans are getting a little close now and they might decide they want a piece of the action too. As for Maggie the rusty old lady was just following her orders from Washington DC like Tony.

Posted on 27 Dec 2009 20:06:26 GMT
The Belgrano was not a threat, as it was sailing away and was an obsolete old battleship, bought second hand from the US after the second world war. It's sinking made no difference to the security of the British task force as it was more of a sitting duck than a threat.

The most sensible suggestion at the time was that made by Alan Walters, Mrs Thatcher's favourite econoimist, and familiar with South aAmerica through his trips to Chile in the early years of Pinochet's regime, that a monetary value be established for relocating the islanders and that we sell the islands to the Argentinians at a the market rate for bleak south atlantic rocks fit only for sheep and 'Bennies'.

At the time, until the sinking of the Belgrano, the whole affair had a Gibert and Sullivan quality - first it was farce, then it turned to tragedy. It seemed sad and ridiculous that such a mean little episode in history was portrayed as a triumph of the Iron will. Almost 1000 people died to 'protect' a couple of thousand islanders, who, contrary to what one poster seems to think, were not British, and were not entitled to live and work in Britain.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Dec 2009 20:22:58 GMT
Hagar says:
Mr Henderson - you are wrong. You should read the wording the UN resolution allowing the UK to take action. It says quite clearly that the UK could enforce the exclusion zone around the Falklands 'and take other measures necessary' to safeguard UK forces. The exclusion zone was irrelevant. Also, you are forgetting/do not know that the Argentinians tried to launch an air strike against the British fleet the day before the Belgrano was sunk - the Argentinian aircraft could not get off their carrier because the wind speed was too low. So much for the Peru peace plan!Also, the reason why the Belgrano was facing away was because she was manoeuvring to a replenishment course in the prevailing sea conditions, not sailing away. You need to deal in facts, my friend, not uninformed opinion!

Posted on 27 Dec 2009 21:06:27 GMT
Bad as the incompetent foreign policy was which led to the Falklands War, I think Margaret Thatcher should have been put on trial many years ago for crimes against humanity. Her catalogue of offences is too great to list, but a moment's thought about the suffering and loss she and her toadies inflicted on British society shows where to find the evidence. Examples? The theft of public property sold off, often at knockdown prices, to people of her own self-seeking sort ("one of us") and the inevitable consequences for users of rail, telephone, water, gas, electricity etc when delivered into the hands of international gamblers; the emasculation of both cabinet and local government, with all its appalling consequences both for democracy per se and for any hope of real local development; the revolting acts of acquiescence in whatever direction Reagan was then being steered by his US neocon puppet masters; the ghastly anointing of the turncoat Tony Blair as her true successor, ensuring continuance of her frightfully polarising policies and an even more sycophantic relationship with an even more mindless US president; her demonic obsession with the deregulation of everything; and perhaps most of all for her responsibility for making sure that the young practised above all the culture of greed so completely exemplified in the all-too-current obscene bonus culture. That outlines the case for the prosecution, m'lud.

Posted on 27 Dec 2009 23:20:32 GMT
S. Connor says:
Thatcher was just like Bush Blair and Brown but not as bad as Netanyahu

Posted on 27 Dec 2009 23:28:15 GMT
What a silly, silly, silly question.
I really wish some folk would educate themselves. Yet another bandwagon type forum putting a downer on Thatcher. It's all so boring, just visit one of the many left wing sites on the web and post your question / share your views there, it will do wonders for your ego - really.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Dec 2009 20:18:48 GMT
P says:
I do not think that it has been clearly established what the Belgrano was trying to achieve. The captain might have been trying to just to get home asap, or might have been manoeuvring in coordination with other parts of the Argentine fleet or just obeying orders the context of which he did not know. We DON'T KNOW. But neither did the British government or the British commanders in the theatre of war.

Under those circumstances, any commander engaged in armed conflict was entitled to fire on an enemy vessel. The only circumstances under which it would not have been justified was if the commander had signalled a surrender, or if the ship was known to be carrying large numbers of civilians. As far as I know neither of these conditions applied - there was no surrender and the people on board the Belgrano were military personnel.

I too am not a Thatcher fan, but in this case the government's permission and the commander's decision to sink the Belgrano were both entirely justified and legitimate under the standards which apply to a declared armed conflict between nations.

Posted on 29 Dec 2009 04:35:35 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 22 Sep 2011 12:52:06 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Dec 2009 21:00:03 GMT
As I recollect, Thatcher misled the country by wrongly claiming thet the belgrano was inside the exclusion zone and heading towards the British ships. Nothing changes - Blair lied about Weapons of Mass destruction. When politicains are determined to splill blood (except their own, of course) truth goes out the window. The log of the Conqueror went missing, as it would have shown the falsity of Thatcher's claims.

I assume she lied because up to that point it seemed possible that a war could be averted. After the sinking of the Belgrano there was no chance of a peaceful settlement.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Dec 2009 05:46:15 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Dec 2009 05:48:15 GMT
P says:
The exclusion zone did not apply to enemy ships - it was a warning to non-combatants to stay out of a area where they could be shot at without further warning. Even the bombing of enemy civilian settlements is NOT a war crime - consider NATO actions in Serbia etc etc. If we had been able to send aircraft to bomb ships in port, that would have justified as an act of war, even if civilian workers had been killed. ANY enemy vessel of war, ANYWHERE is a legitimate, and legal, target. It does not have to be a clear and present danger.

Incidentally, if firing on the Belgrano was illegal, then the commander should not have carried out the order. His request for clarification was probably because the attack had strategic, political and diplomatic implications - as he would have known. The "just following orders" plea was dealt with at Nuremberg.

Put rather brutally - if a soldier surrenders then it is a war crime to shoot him. If he is running away then he is a legal target, because he who runs away may live to fight another day.

That is the moral justification for shooting an enemy who is not AT THAT MOMENT shooting at you. It also represents the legal position.

You should not confuse an act which you believe was unnecessary or inhumane with an act that is illegal. There are all sorts of things that, to take another example, parents can do to children, which are inhumane but not illegal. The same point applies to many of the things that governments do - they may be stupid, immoral, counter-productive or even dangerous but that does not IN ITSELF make them illegal.

This is not only sloppy thinking, but dangerous. The police in this country currently have such a wide discretionary power, that they have taken to thinking that anything they don't like (such as being photographed) is illegal. That isn't true here, and the same thing apples to the sinking of the Belgrano.

I am neither condemning nor endorsing that sinking, and, on this issue, neither condemning nor praising Thatcher. What I am insisting is that neither the position nor the course of the Belgrano have any baring on the question as to whether it was LEGAL to fire on and sink the ship.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Dec 2009 08:04:25 GMT
Withnail says:
This might add to the discussion - "Never admit anything unless you have to; and then only for specific reasons and within defined limits". M Thatcher 1978 as quoted in todays Guardian.

Posted on 30 Dec 2009 20:11:35 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 30 Dec 2009 20:15:08 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Dec 2009 03:16:31 GMT
P says:
S T Williams:

The Foreign Office had been trying for years, under various administrations, to transfer sovereignty of the Islands to Argentina - they wanted rid of a minor hangover from the Empire which seemed largely irrelevant. Presumably they did not, over those decades, believe that we needed a base from which to exploit the oil reserves.

Secondly, the war was triggered by an invasion by the Junta who were not, I think, in the pay of the British. It is generally written up that they launched what seemed likely to be a successful "recovery" of the Islands in order to have a way of creating a wave of patriotic fervour inside Argentina. They badly needed something to counteract their growing unpopularity, and the possibility that they would be overthrown.

General Haig explained that they (especially the Navy man) did not expect that Britain would fight, or that Britain would win, if they did fight. In part they based this assumption on the withdrawal of Navy vessels from the South Atlantic. That decision was also a question of internal British politics, and defence cuts - we're likely to see similar arguments here in the next couple of years.

Do you have any evidence that points to Washington giving orders for the Falkland War? Nothing that I have read seems to point to that conclusion. The Reagan administration had been following a policy of rapprochement with South America, particularly with right-wing regimes like the Junta. They would have preferred NOT to have to choose between two sets of allies. Haig's attempt to make peace seems to me to be genuine. Incidentally, the Pentagon thought that re-taking the Islands by invasion was "a military impossibility," which makes it unlikely that they would have encouraged Reagan to "order" Thatcher to start a successful war.

I do not think that oil played a major part in the Thatcher government's calculations. It is, however, quite possible that some ideas of that nature were possible. Clearly later governments did follow that line of thought (see Guardian 22/09/07). I do not know if the Argentine government of the day objected - probably.

However, it is not logical to insist that an action now was the driving force behind decisions taken nearly a quarter of a century ago.

Furthermore, it flies in the face of common sense to insist that the Argentine Junta were a bunch of innocents manipulated by the cunning and wicked British government and civil service to start an invasion which the British knew they could fight and win.

Lastly, I think you have the timing wrong. The Junta chose the moment when they invaded. When it became clear that invasion was on the cards, the Thatcher government had to do something quickly. Three months earlier, no newspaper in Britain was busy whipping up popular sentiment against Argentina - until the invasion was upon us, many people in the UK had never even heard of the Falkland Islands, and could not have shown you when they were to within thousands of miles.

Your account of how things happened at the time does not seem to accord with any of the known facts or opinions at the time.

Posted on 31 Dec 2009 11:04:18 GMT
P. Higgins: See today's Times, column by Rosemary Righter. Issue is: Labour has made the country even more impoverisHed. Therefore, working peoplE cNNOT ENJOY ENHANCED MATERIAL BENEFITS, REGARDLESS OF PLUTOCRATS, LANDONWERS AND OTHER MALEFACTORS IN YOUR SLIGHTLY SKEWED VISION.
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